Stop Making These 5 Storage Mistakes in Your Small Space

published Feb 15, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Minette Hand)

One of the most pressing challenges of living in a small space is: where are you gonna put all your stuff? And once you do find a place to put everything, how are you going to keep your tiny apartment looking like an apartment and not a warehouse? Here are a few common mistakes to avoid—pitfalls to keep in mind when you’re trying to make room for your stuff, but also create a space you’ll want to come home to.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Only considering floor space, and not wall space

When it comes to storing things in a small apartment, vertical space is your friend. You may not have the floor space for an extra bookcase, but you can probably find a spot above a desk or dresser to hang some wall-mounted shelves. And coats aren’t the only thing that can hang on a rack: everything from kitchen utensils to folding furniture can be hung on hooks on the wall, so they’re easily accessible and doesn’t take up any floor space at all.

Ignoring the space up top

Look up! There’s a lot of space on top of things that you might not have considered. Chances are good you’re already using the top of the refrigerator for storage, but what about that space above the cabinets? Another small space trick I love is mounting shelves above doors, which can add a precious extra few feet of space.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Having all open storage, and no closed storage

I live in an apartment that has no closet, so this is a problem I’m particularly familiar with. Things like open shelves and garment racks and wall-hung organizers are great, but if everything you own is being stored right out in the open, your apartment is probably going to look a little chaotic. Wardrobes, or cabinets, or drawers can be really handy for hiding the most unsightly clutter. If you’re dealing with a lot of open shelving, get baskets or boxes to make things more organized.

Only creating as much storage as you need at that particular moment

When you move into your apartment, you’re probably going to assess your storage needs according to the stuff you have right at that particular moment. This means getting enough shelves, shoe organizers, etc, to fit the stuff you currently have. But keep in mind that over the course of living there, you are probably going to acquire more books, and shoes, and other things. Unless you’re okay with being super vigilant about getting rid of something when you buy something new (and hey, some people are!) you should plan a little extra storage at the outset.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Asking “where do I put it?” and not “why do I need it?”

One thing I actually love about my small apartment is how it makes me accountable to my stuff. It’s harder to keep around things that don’t really serve a purpose, because there’s no deep closet for them to get shoved in the back of. So while you’re pondering storage solutions (or about to purchase something), take a moment to ask yourself — why am I keeping/buying this thing anyway? You may find that you need a lot less storage space than you thought, and that will make you (and your home) much happier.